February 28, 2023

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Principal's Message


Notices from the Deputy Principal

Caritas Ambassadors

Library News

STEAM - Staff Challenge

Community Information

Catholic School Parents Victoria

Year 7 2025 - Applications for Enrolment

Important Dates

Principal's Message

Ash Wednesday

In House Groups on Wednesday 22 February, staff and students marked the commencement of Lent with a sacred and prayerful Ash Wednesday Liturgy.  As we move into the season of Lent, we remind ourselves about the ongoing relevance of praying, giving and fasting, as a means of connecting our lives to Jesus who made the ultimate sacrifice through his death.

Praying can sometimes be secondary to all of the other “activities” that make up our busy days, and it is easy enough to put it aside for another time.  Prayer as an integral part of who we are means that we are always attentive to the constant presence of God in our lives, and we are ever in conversation with God.  This Lent my commitment is to pray daily using a wonderful little resource I came across by accident – God’s action working in my life.  This beautiful prayer is from the reflections for the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday.

Graceful and Merciful God,

I give thanks for your loving presence with me as I begin this Lenten journey.

Help my heart and mind to be attentive to you so that my life is renewed, and I can give all that I am and all that I do over to you.


(From Ashes to Hope, Daily Reflections for Lent and the Easter Octave)

Multi-Sports Day

There was certainly a great deal of enthusiasm leading up to the Multi-Sports Day on 23 February, and a definite buzz in the air at the conclusion of the day.  Student participation in the program was exceptional, and I would like to congratulate all of our students who took the opportunity to participate, get active, have fun and score some points for their Houses.

I would like to acknowledge the work of Shellie Murton, our Sports Coordinator, and Frank Bonavia, Head of College Operations, who master-minded a complex logistics exercise to ensure that we were all able to make the most of a great day.  Thanks to all of the staff members who got involved with their students and worked to ensure that the activities at each of the venues ran as smoothly as possible.  We look forward to the upcoming Athletics Carnival on 29 March, and I would encourage all students to be as active and involved as they were on Multi-Sports Day.

Year 9 Urban Engagement Program

This week core group 9.1 head off into the city for their Urban Engagement Experience with St Bernard’s College.  This week has been months in the planning and I would like to acknowledge the work of Greta Bajada, who saw promise in the program for our students, and to Greta Bajada, Susan Valenzuela, Caitlin Devlin, Liliana Condello and Louy Saade for all the work that has gone into shaping up a rigorous and engaging program that brings the mission and values of the College to life, while providing our students with a different type of learning experience.

Parent Code of Conduct

As I communicated in the letter sent to all families before the commencement of the school year, St Columba’s College now has a Parent Code of Conduct to establish shared expectations about our partnership with families throughout their child’s time with the College.  I have provided the link again here for your reference.  This last week, we received communication from Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS) providing a reminder about the benefits of a Parent Code of Conduct for a school community.  I share an excerpt of this communication with you below.

Why are codes of conduct important?

They provide opportunity for schools to express their values, and expectation that all interactions with the school are to be based on respect and procedural fairness.  Codes of conduct should include the types of behaviour that are acceptable, as well as behaviour that is unacceptable.  Behaviour expectations can differ from person to person, so clearly providing examples of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour is helpful to all parties.  As part of their enrolment contract, students and parents/guardians/carers agree to uphold the school’s values and acknowledge that they understand the behaviour expectations.

Codes of conduct are a key component of the Enrolment Agreement as they enable the school to remind students and parents/guardians/carers that all interactions need to be respectful, even if the issue is challenging.

 Codes of conduct also support the school’s complaints process as they enable the school to:

  • remind students and parents/guardians/carers about acceptable behaviour during a difficult conversation,
  • suspend a discussion if behaviour is unacceptable.

 In addition to complaints and enrolment agreement matters, codes of conduct can be used to manage other discussions with students or their parents/guardians/carers that may be difficult due to the consequences or sensitivity.  The codes can be used by schools to keep discussions calm and respectful.  This approach often enables a mutually acceptable outcome to be reached.

We enjoy fruitful, productive and harmonious partnerships with our families.  Codes of Conduct help us to ensure that our relationships continue this way into the future.


Our Lenten journey began this week as the College celebrated Shrove Tuesday in a different way this year. Traditionally known as Pancake Tuesday, it was customary in many cultures to eat pancakes or other foods made with the butter, eggs and fat that would be given up during Lent. This year, at St Columba’s, we approached Shrove Tuesday from a different angle. We’re encouraging our students to fast from their technology during family time in order to reconnect with loved ones during the time of Lent. If pancakes were regarded as the feast before the fast, then we feasted on video games and played Mario Kart at lunchtime this week. Quite a few students showed up their teachers and raised some money for Project Compassion in doing so. We marked the official beginning of Lent with simultaneous liturgies, school wide, for Ash Wednesday in our House Groups, sharing the experience with our teachers and support staff. It was a great show of community and solidarity throughout the whole school.

A Prayer for Strength and Commitment in this time of Lent

Heavenly Father,

As we embark on this Lenten season, we come before you with humble hearts, seeking your strength and guidance. We ask that you bless us with the same courage and commitment that Mary Aikenhead and the Religious Sisters of Charity exemplified in their service to you.

Grant us the strength to resist temptation and to embrace sacrifice, as we seek to grow in our faith and become more like you. May our actions and prayers during this season be a testament to our love and devotion to you, as well as a source of inspiration to others.

We ask for your guidance as we strive to live a life of service to others. Help us to be compassionate, patient, and understanding, as we seek to love and serve those in need. Help us on our journey this season, to connect with loved ones, through walks, chats over coffee or playing games with each other.

Lord, we also ask that you bless and guide the Religious Sisters of Charity, as they continue to carry out your work throughout the world. May their strength and commitment to your mission inspire us all to be better servants and disciples of your love.

Venerable Mary Aikenhead, pray for us.


Notices from the Deputy Principal

High Achievers’ Assembly – Tuesday 14 February

The College was thrilled to be able to recognise and celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of our students during 2022, and in particular, the 2022 Year 12 students. The High Achievers’ assembly was an opportunity to welcome our graduates and their families back to the College, to acknowledge more than 48 students for their hard work and persistence, to celebrate their wonderful achievements and wish them all the best for the new challenges of life beyond secondary school. Our community was inspired by the words of our VCE Dux, Lillian Nguyen, and our VCAL Dux, Madeleine Kuras.

High achievement in student leadership was also acknowledged. Our elected House Representatives were introduced by our Year 12 House Captains. House Reps were presented with their badges which we hope they will wear proudly.

SEQTA Parent Information Night – Monday 6 March

Parents have been emailed about the upcoming SEQTA PIN which commences at 7:00pm. Parents have been asked to RSVP via this link. Parents may opt to attend in person, to our Library, or online via this Google Meet link. We look forward to supporting you with your use of SEQTA to better engage with your child’s learning and wellbeing at school.

Year 7 Parent Meet & Greet

Year 7 parent and legal guardians are warmly invited to an evening at the College by our Parent Engagement Committee. This is an opportunity to get to know others who are also on this journey of transition into secondary school. Families have been sent an invite which includes a link to RSVP. Please RSVP by for catering purposes.

We look forward to seeing you then.

Student Leadership Training Day – Tiana Ciavarella (Year 9 Cahill House Representative)

On Monday the 20th of February, the Student Executive members and House Representatives gathered to participate in a Student Leadership Training Day. This day helped deepen our leadership skills as we began to plan for the 2023 school year. We started off the day with prayer. Then, Viv spoke to us about this year’s College themes of Truth and Love. We learnt how these themes intertwine and how our truth involves showing love to others. She spoke to us about leaders like Jesus and Mary Aikenhead and how they showed leadership to others. Throughout the day, we engaged in varied collaborative activities and icebreaker games such as ‘Who’s at your Table?’ These activities and games gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better and learn the names of many of the STCC student leaders. Later on in the day, we worked in houses researching and developing plans to work with our House Partnerships. Together, we learnt about the importance of having a House Partnership and why we should focus on more than just donating money to these organisations. Then, we separated into year levels and brainstormed our answers to the question ‘What do you believe are your responsibilities, as students, in helping to maximise your learning and success?’. This proved as an exceptional way to get on the same page with the leaders in our own year level and find out what our key responsibilities were this year as student leaders. After this, we looked at our Raps and Niggles, which are the things we really like about the College and what we feel needs improvement. In year levels, we shared our top 3 priority Raps and Niggles with the other leaders. It was interesting to listen and identify any patterns and differences amongst the year levels. To end off the day, the Student Engagement Team (SET) members for 2023 were elected. This SET consists of 2 House Reps from each year level and 2 House Captains. Overall, this day was lots of fun and an amazing opportunity to further develop our leadership and form connections with other 2023 student leaders.

7Ava ScalpelloOBNJ2
7Ella WalshDLSYJ2
8Sienna SeyisCTRJ1
8Anastasia DonovanCHLJ1
9Charlize BelletteWMSJ2
9Jasmine DaviesCTRJ2
10Daniella VellaBRNS1
10Zara CammerinoOBNS1
11Taylor NavarroCHLS1
11Alessia OlivieriDLYS1
12Alanah EastwoodCTRS1
12Matilda LawrieCHLS2

Parent Education Program – Happy Families

As part of our membership to Happy Families, we receive useful reading and other resources for our community. The first article, “Mind your language – how what you say creates your child’s mindset”, can be accessed here.

Caritas Ambassadors

On Feb 22 four wonderful Caritas Ambassadors, our beautiful youth minister; Vivian and I went to Carolyn Chisolm Catholic Collage for the Launch of Project Compassion. We met students representing schools across Australia in person and online. Working together to understand the distribution of poor and marginalised was an enlightening and fun experience.
Student reflections:
On the 21st of Feb, I was given the opportunity to go to Caroline Chisholm to learn about project compassion and how we can help. I learned about this sort of “fence” between our society and the less fortunate, and how people like us who are seen as less off are usually stuck in our little bubble. We don’t have enough information to help others who are struggling and don’t have simple things that we have. 
Alicia Nuccitelli, Year 10
Yesterday I had the opportunity to learn the true meaning behind caritas and learn about all the ways they help make an impact in the world. One key thought that resonated with me was that the way we take action now will impact the future generations. 
Tereza Quinn, Year 11

Library News

On Valentine’s Day the Sophia Library celebrated Library Lovers’ Day with a Blind Date with a book. 

Students were given the opportunity to to celebrate what they love about the Sophia Library by writing a message and posting it in the new message box. 

Another key feature of Library Lovers’ Day is the Blind Date with a Book. Students could borrow a book where the only information about the book was the blurb. There was no other information presented. Blind Date with a Book was very popular with the junior students, with a number of students having multiple book blind dates.

STEAM - Staff Challenge

STEAM lessons can be fun, just ask our teachers at STC. During the ‘beginning of the year’ program, the STEAM Team challenged the staff to create a balloon powered car using the following materials: plastic bottle, four plastic bottle caps, wooden skewer, two straws, balloon, tape and scissors. Essentially, we turned some rubbish into a toy car—and watched it go! This simple balloon car activity was loaded with physics and engineering concepts although I don’t think that’s what was driving our teachers (no pun intended). So, who was able to get their car to move? Congratulations to Ms Donna Mallery who was the winner of our first Teachers STEAM Challenge for 2023.

Community Information

Year 7 2025 - Applications for Enrolment

Do you have a daughter currently in Grade 5 and wish to enrol her at St Columba’s College? If so, please take note of the following enrolment dates for Year 7 2025:

  • Applications for Enrolment close Friday 18 August 2023
  • Offers of Enrolment will be mailed out Friday 20 October 2023
  • Offers of Enrolment to be accepted/declined by Friday 10 November 2023

Online applications are open for Year 7 2025 can be accessed here. Please ensure you submit an application form for your daughter even if you already have a daughter at the College.

Important Dates

Monday 27 February – Friday 3 March: 9.1 Urban Experience

Wednesday 1 March: Year 7 Camp PIN

Thursday 2 March: College Twilight Tour

Friday 3 March: SWAT Team Building Day

Monday 6 March: SEQTA PIN

Wednesday 8 March: International Women’s Day

Wednesday 8 March: Alumnae Meeting

Tuesday 14 March: Interschool Debating